Boyzone - Gave It All Away
I always quite liked Boyzone and was quite happy when they reformed a couple of years ago, whatever the motives were. I bought their new hits compilation and thought that the three new songs; Love You Anyway, Better and Can't Stop Thinking About You, were all excellent paving the way for possible greatness on a new album. After the sad events of last year regarding Stephen Gately's death, Ronan, Mikey, Keith and Shane vowed to carry on and Gave It All Away, written by Mika, is the first single to be taken from Brother, their first new studio album in 12 years!!! A gorgeous ballad, you can definitely hear the Mika influence, it could almost be Happy Ending part 2 at times. The harmonies on the song are fantastic, putting Stephen as the lead vocalist on the track is a fitting tribute and it's probably their strongest single since No Matter What, so here's hoping it can return them to #1 in the UK. I'm not sure that the odd reggae beats fully compliment the song, perhaps an epic string section would have been better - but at least it differs it from the usual Boyzone ballad somewhat! I do really like the almost tribal middle-8 as well, very A Different Beat!
Venke Knutson - Jealous Cause I Love You
I'm not quite sure where to start with all of the potetntial Eurovision contenders, there are already so many and it's only January. Iceland and Finland have both had some decent songs so far (You Are The One and Cider Hill being my favourites of each selection respectively) but I'll focus on Norway seeing as they are of course guaranteed a place in the final that they are hosting after their thumping record win with Alexander Rybak's Fairytale last year! Although Melodi Grand Prix doesn't seem quite as strong as last year, there are some great songs - it's just that it's not always the right ones that are making it to the final. Faded Norwegian popstar Venke Knutson who had a few big hits in the mid-noughties there has had the greatest pure pop moment so far, but has only made it as far as the 'second chance' round. A little bit Pipettes, a little bit The Revelations (It's You was a classic that should have beaten Andy 'dancing disco dad' Abraham to represent the UK in 2008!) and obviously borrows from the 2008 soul-pop bandwagon, but is much more on the pop side than the soul side. Absolutely excellent song, one listen and it's in your head for days.
Glee Cast - My Life Would Suck Without You
How could I get this far without referencing Glee? Already a worldwide phenomenon, it has just caught on in the UK, with their take on Journey's Don't Stop Believin' featured in the pilot smashing into the UK top 5 at the weekend. I'm only up to episode three at the moment but I did invest in both soundtrack albums. There are a few boring moments, which I'm sure will be a lot better in the context of seeing how the songs are used in the episodes (Bust Your Windows for example suddenly makes a lot more sense now). However, even out of context for me, their cover of Kelly Clarkson's #1 hit from last year, My Life Would Suck Without You, is absolutely fantastic. Keeping the anthemic spirit of the original, this is a song that really suits a group chorus, not that Kelly wasn't fantastic on it, but you really can picture this being a band song and the male vocals compliment it well. Spot on!